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Home > Archive: April, 2011

Archive for April, 2011

Learning from Yesterday's Entry

April 29th, 2011 at 05:53 am

After my electric, gas, cable, vehicle and homeowner's insurances all went up in the past month or two; and I have had to adjust my spending plan one more time to accommodate the extra monies going out, I need to become more self-sufficient, more than I already am.

I really need to get back to better homesteading which will include more vegetable gardening, canning, freezing, couponing, rain barrels for watering, finding better ways to heat my home, better usage of gas, less driving, more walking, combining errands, and just overall being more self-sufficient.

I have an idea for work I can do from home, which I am going to explore and research some more.

I am not supposed to raise chickens in my area, which is a bummer, cause I could really benefit from about three of them...Eggs for eating and good fertilizer, so I need to research and find good resources for local eggs, meat and honey.

I have an awesome 1600 square foot cottage, which I have renevated, in a great area of Michigan, which has lake priveleges. I am gonna invest a little money into some more apple trees, a peach tree, blueberry bushes and more strawberries. After finding Rosalind Creasy and her books: http://www.rosalindcreasy.com/edible-landscaping-basics/ and this article http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/home_blog/2011/04/rosalind-creasy-the-woman-to-consult-before-planting-a-kitchen-garden.html She is also on youtube, I have been changing my lawn and flower gardens over to a more edible landscaping. And, my hopes are to utilize my yard for most of my food (except meat).

So, here is to going forward with a more self-sufficient life in hopes to bring down some of my expenses in the process.

Expenses Keep Going Up - whats going on

April 28th, 2011 at 05:34 am

My regular expenses have been coming in for the month of May. I am on the budget plan, where I pay the same amount every month to avoid high bills in the winter, on my electric and gas bills. Well my electric bill just got here and it is in its settlement month, so it has re-adjusted. It went up $32 a month, which just seems high to me. I looked to see if my usuage went up, but it has been down, so it must be the price of electricity that has gone up.

Then I got my insurances (homeowner's and vehicle) and it has gone up. I haven't pulled out my statement from a year ago to see how much, but I am wondering if this is due to all of the devestation with earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, tornadoes, etc. I am probably gonna have to call around. I have excellent credit and have not had any accidents, tickets, claims, etc. to check on prices with other insurance companies.

Also, my combined cable/internet/phone bill went up $5/monthly, which is an extra $60/year. I, personally, could do without all of this, but I do have two children left at home, one in 11th grade and one in college, that utilize all of the above. I probably could actually ditch the land-line, but that is like a comfort zone to me. I am sure I will eventually break away from the landline in order to keep my budget in check.

Just waiting now on the gas bill to come in. I am sure it is close to its adjustment month, because I started it around the same time as the electric. How much will it go up. Afterall, oil is at an alltime high.

It seems that when I find an area to cut back on, the other expenses keep going up. It is so frustrating that I have to rely on electricity, gas usuage and a vehicle. I have already sold my Jeep and I am sharing a car with my daughter to cut down on costs for both of us. It is very hard to become more self-sufficient when the areas you cut back on get hit even harder. Let alone, having my children even think about moving out on their own someday.


Random Updates

April 26th, 2011 at 05:42 am

Well, my niece had her baby, which I was privledged to help deliver. This is her second baby girl and I was in the room with her for both of her deliveries.

The invitations are starting to roll in. I have come to the conclusion that I will not be able to attend all of the invites. With 4 weddings, 4 bridal showers, 3 new babies, 2 baby showers and a graduation open house, I am gonna have to choose how to handle the extra expense.

Classes for me and my daughter are coming to an end in May, then opening up the Club for the summer season. Looking forward to a different more relaxed schedule. Also looking forward to banking all of my summer job money into my savings.

Needing to go through my closet and update my wardrobe. I have had to throw away my favorite spring jacket and a pair of capris just in the last week because they were falling apart. Looking to update my summer wardrobe, buy some new dresses for the upcoming weddings and showers and a new summer purse. Gonna try real hard to find what I need at consignment and resale shops.

I am also adding to my edible landscaping this year and need to purchase a couple apple trees, a peach tree, blueberry bushes and strawberry plants, plus the regular yearly gardening plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, etc. My 50th birthday is coming up, so I am gonna let my kids and husband purchase some of these items for me.

Looking pretty stormy today, but I need to get the potatoes planted before the rain.

Passive Income

April 23rd, 2011 at 06:01 am

Got a $20 rebate check back from visa rewards and a $3.00 Pinecone payment.

Previous Amount: $192.99
Add monies: $23.00
New Total: $215.99

More Debt and Savings

April 22nd, 2011 at 05:54 am

Yes, I have added to my debt column. Really couldn't be helped.

First, my daughters car was in need of some repairs; and came at a time when insurances where due and my son needed some dental work for a bad cavity.

So, got the work done on the car, but opened a credit card with 6 months no interest. Cost of the repairs is $503.

Now, my son's teeth. He has a very beautiful smile, very straight and white teeth, they just aren't very strong. So he had his cleaning and there were some cavities, so we went to get the cavaties taken care of, but one of the teeth out of the three was just too close to the nerve, so we went to the endodontits who gave him a root canal. This past week at the regular dentist and the specialist cost me $1508, which I put on my Care Credit card, which has no interest for a year. My son still needs a little more dental work done, so the Care Credit card will be added to.

I do have the cash to pay for these two items, but I want to keep adding to my savings account. I want to have a nice size cushion of cash, just in case I need to buy a vehicle or something happens to my husband. Last year, right at Thanksgiving, our work died down and we really had to pinch pennies until March, which is what caused me to rack up more debt for those 4 months and the Holidays.

So, anyways, I think I will keep paying what I am paying on my debt, and when the bills come in for these two items above, divide the months and get them paid off before the interest kicks in.

Positive Note...summer schedule is coming, more relaxed days, I start my summer job which I can walk to (it is only 7 houses away or half a block); and less spending.

I will keep you posted on the progress. I haven't added the new debts to my sidebar yet. I will do that when I received the bills.

Some People's Priorities...makes me scratch my head

April 16th, 2011 at 05:35 am

I stopped over at my girlfriends yesterday to catch up. She mentioned that she might be pregnant and went on to say that there is no way they can afford to have a baby. Okay.

We talked about many things. One being...she inquired about becoming a member back at the Club, but stated she couldn't afford it. I said it is $150/year until she gets the initiation fee paid off, which would be about three more years for them, then it drops down to $100/year. Our club is seasonal, which usually runs about 15 weeks or $10/week. Very cheap entertainment, if you ask me, for loads of summer fun to keep her kids busy.

She stated that they were two months behind on their mortgage; and that they just paid $2,000 for their dog to have surgery (which I understand with pets).

But, as we talked and we walked around so she could show me her new re-done basement, complete with all new carpet and tile, new furnace, washer and dryer, a large screen tv handing on the wall, a nice MAC desktop sitting on her desk and her scrapbooking room, I was a little perplexed.

She also stated that they have been paying a cleaning lady $60/week to come in a clean. I mean that is $240/month.

Really, you are behind on your mortgage and can't afford the Club, but you can afford all these new ammenities and a cleaning lady. Some people just have their priorities wrong. I wanted to say, stop the insanity and catch up on your mortgage, or you won't be able to enjoy your new basement and everything else that goes with it. I am bothered by this.

Budget/Spending Plan Update

April 15th, 2011 at 05:06 am

The budget/spending plan seems to be working out just fine. I am able to get all my bills and my allocated amounts to my debt paid within the first two weeks, leaving the last two weeks of the month to put money towards savings.

I do have to use some of the last two weeks money for groceries and gas, but my savings is growing. I will keep building my savings while slowly eating away at my debt. It would be nice if I could have the first two weeks also cover the rest of the month for groceries and gas, then I could just bank all of the last two weeks monies. I will have to work on that.

I would like to see how much I can get saved, along with having my beach job money directly deposited into my savings account, so I should have good size savings by the end of the summer. I will need to buy a car by October, so that is really my goal here.

Hoping to find a decent, reliable and affordable car, so I don't end up with a payment, along with enough money for property taxes due in September and being able to have a cash Christmas.

I am really excited about this year, cause I feel that we are financially headed in the right direction, just need to stay motivated and focused.

It would be nice to start 2012 with a aid for car, taxes paid, Christmas paid and use the rest of my savings (minus the EF) to put towards debt. That would really give 2012 a boost.

But, I will not rush 2011. Looking forward to enjoying the warmer months ahead. After the third week in May, we start a whole new schedule. School classes are done, work schedules change, the heat gets turned off and we just become more relaxed so we can enjoy our favorite activities.

Car Problems

April 8th, 2011 at 05:05 am

My daughters car needed a new alternator belt, so I took it into the car doctor. Replacing the belt was supposed to cost $70.00. Upon having my car in the shop, the shop representative came out and told me that in order to get to the belt that needed replacing, they needed to take off another belt that was overtop of it and then replace it, plus, they told me that I had a bad tie rod end, which I also knew about. So, I decided to let them fix it all for $334.

I went home and got a call from the shop letting me know that once they got the tie rod end off, they noticed that the ball joint was bad also and quoted me another price of $503, to fix that problem. I was a little bothered by this, but said go ahead.

They finished my car, I went to pick it up and it wouldn't even move forward. I told them and they wanted me to bring it back the next day. I said no, I am right here, you can look at it now. Well, they couldn't figure it out, it spent the night at the shop, upon where they called me the next day to tell me that my car was stuck in 3rd gear and that I would have to take it to a transmission shop.

I said, you broke it, you take it to the transmission shop. They agreed, but also stated that they weren't the ones at fault, even though I have never had transmission problems with this particular car. Well, the tranny shop put a scope on it and found that it needed a tune-up, or should I say a spark plug that was triggering it to feel like it was stuck in 3rd gear, it was just misfiring, so it wouldn't move down the road.

It is all fixed now and there was no more cost out of my pocket, but what stress the last two days have caused, and I am $500 poorer, well $250 cause me and my daughter split the cost. But, what a nightmare.

My Bucket List - Affording It

April 4th, 2011 at 05:44 am

There are some places I would really like to visit but due to income, have never had a chance. I am turning 50 this year and would like to start seeing some of these places.

Bucket List, not in any particular order:
*Bar Harbor, Maine to see the whales.
*Grand Canyon
*Redwood Forest
*Washington D.C.
*Swim with the Manatees in Florida
*Eastern Seaboard of the Carolinas to check out the sea turtles.
*Chincoteague Island, Virginia to see the ponies.

I just need to figure out how to afford them. I am so inspired by my son's girlfriend. When she was like 20, she sold most all her stuff and traveled around Europe for 6 months, making it on what she has sold and saved.

I really can't sell off my stuff, because I have a family that needs a place to live, so any great ideas are always appreciated. If you know how to visit these places on a budget, I would appreciate the tips.

Made Some Changes to Benefit Me

April 1st, 2011 at 07:02 am

Decided that instead of paying out $673.00 to my insurance company for homeowner's this month and another $331.31 to my insurance company for my vehicle insurance next month, that I would combine them and put them back on an automated monthly basis. So it cost me $114.00 today (the insurance company likes one month ahead) and will only be $57.00/monthly from now on, give or take a buck or two depending on inflation.

Anyhow, I don't have to stress about paying out over $1000 over the next 6 weeks to insurances. Instead, I can redirect that money to my freedom account and debt repayment. Plus, insurances should be a regular bill for me anyway, so I will adjust my "Spending and Get Out of Debt Plan" on my sidebar to reflect the changes.

Now, I need to figure out something for my son's dental visits. We got his treatment plan yesterday and it is going to cost $3,591.00. I have already paid $274 out of my pocket for a filling, x-rays and a cleaning. I might check into some different dental plans that my dentist takes to see if it would benefit me to pay for dental insurance and what would be my out-of-pocket costs. I do have a Care Credit Card I can use to pay for his dental visits, which would be interest free for a year, but if I can do it cheaper and pay cash as I go, would be a better option. I will keep you informed.

I am feeling pretty good about the changes. It is only the first of the month, the bills are paid and all I have to do is buy groceries and gas and put the rest in the bank from what my husband gives me from his jobs over the next month. I finally think I will get a head of the game. I wasn't behind, just juggling every month since October. Pretty stressful.